Kormo Bekoduku (2021- Ongoing)
Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh is an abode to the Apatani community. The Apatanis are one of the Tibeto mongoloid tribes in Arunachal Pradesh. What sets apart this agrarian tribe from the other tribes is their rich traditional knowledge of wet rice cultivation using perennial streams.
The Apatanis are among the few tribes in the world who continue to worship nature. The traditional customs of the community are fashioned in a way that helps optimal management of the forest resources. They follow a belief system which bestows sacredness to nature ensuring sustainable management of natural resources and ecology. In the indigenous method of natural resource management, direct involvement of the community with local plants and animals for spiritual, medicinal and aesthetic purposes creates a system in which the biological world and the cultural world are tightly intertwined. The natural world is at the same time revered and and protected through the concepts of totem, taboos and similar other cultural practices and beliefs, the natural ecology is identified and named in various nomenclatures such as Sacred groves, forests, grazing fields and farms.
Due to lack of a script, the Ethnobotanical Knowledge and the customary laws relating to natural resource management are preserved in the oral tradition of the Apatanis and passed down orally from their cultural memory.
With modernisation, rapid conversion to other forms of religions, the indigenous knowledge system of the Apatanis is under serious threat of disappearing from cultural memory. Which in turn will prove disastrous for the fragile balance the community has achieved with the ecology they live in.
Kormo Bekoduku explores the Indigenous vision and perspective of the natural world. I intend to document the local flora and their various uses and significance in the cultural, spiritual and medicinal practices. Drawing from the rich heritage of myth and folklore in the community, a new mode of thinking about flora in relation to the modern idea of conservation can be activated.